Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut

Author, editor and writing teacher Suzanne McConnell was a student of Kurt Vonnegut’s at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop during its heyday, the period from 1965-67, when Vonnegut—along with Nelson Algren and other notable authors— was in residence, and was finishing his masterpiece, Slaughterhouse Five. Vonnegut and McConnell became friends, and stayed so for many years. She has published short memoirs of him in The Brooklyn Rail and The Writer’s Digest, and led a panel at the 2014 AWP conference on Vonnegut’s legacy, titled "Vonnegut’s Legacy: Writing about War and Other Debacles of the Human Condition." McConnell has taught writing at Hunter College for thirty years, and serves as the Fiction Editor of the Bellevue Literary Review. She lives in New York City and Wellfleet, MA, with her husband, the artist Gary Kuehn.

Kurt Vonnegut was one of the few grandmasters of American literature, whose novels continue to influence new generations about the ways in which our imaginations can help us to live. Few aspects of his contribution have not been plumbed—fourteen novels, a collection of his speeches, essays, letters, a play—so this fresh self-portrait, written with the aid of a former student, is a bonanza for writers and readers everywhere.

Featured Books By Author

Pity the Reader

The art and craft of writing by one of the few grandmasters of American literature, a bonanza for writers and readers written by Kurt Vonnegut's former student.

Here is an entirely new side of Kurt Vonnegut, Vonnegut as a teacher of writing. Of course he's given us glimpses before, with aphorisms and short essays and articles and in his speeches. But never before has an entire book been devoted to Kurt Vonnegut the teacher. Here is pretty much everything Vonnegut ever said or wrote having to do with the writing art and craft, altogether a healing, a nourishing expedition. McConnell has outfitted us for the journey, and in these 37 chapters covers the waterfront of how one American writer brought himself to the pinnacle of the writing art, and we can all benefit as a result.


Kurt Vonnegut was one of the few grandmasters of American literature, whose novels continue to influence new generations about the ways in which our imaginations can help us to live. Few aspects of his contribution have not been plumbed--fourteen novels, collections of his speeches, his essays, his letters, his plays--so this fresh view of him, written by a former student, is a bonanza for writers and readers and Vonnegut fans everywhere.

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Sun Moon Star

Sun Moon Star is the story of the birth of Jesus--as told by Kurt Vonnegut. This children's book takes the newborn Jesus' perspective, offering beautiful and insightful descriptions of the world from someone newly born into it. In this book, we follow Jesus and meet the people most important to his life--presented in new and surprising ways.
A powerful departure from Vonnegut's more adult work, Sun Moon Star gives readers a rare glimpse of the writer's talent in a format that's unique and unexpected. This book's well-crafted simplicity is sure to make it a favorite--with both children and adult readers who are Vonnegut fans.

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If This Isn't Nice What Is? (Much) Expanded Second Edition

"Like his literary ancestor Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut’s crankiness is good-humored and sharp-witted."
—A.O. Scott in The New York Times Book Review

Master storyteller and satirist Kurt Vonnegut was one of the most in-demand commencement speakers of his time. For each occasion, Vonnegut's words were unfailingly unique, insightful, and witty, and they stayed with audience members long after graduation.

This expanded second edition includes more than sixty pages of further thoughts from Kurt (whose good advice wasn’t limited to graduation speeches).

As edited by Dan Wakefield, this book reads like a narrative in the unique voice that made Vonnegut a hero to readers of all ages. At times hilarious, razor-sharp, freewheeling, and deeply serious, these reflections are ideal for anyone undergoing what Vonnegut would call their "long-delayed puberty ceremony"—marking the passage from student to full-time adult.

This book makes the perfect gift for people on the precipice of change/growth—from high school students to college graduates—or for anyone who will appreciate Vonnegut’s playful, profound wisdom.

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Books By
Kurt Vonnegut